Fellowships | FUSE CORPS
Creating a Model for Inclusive Civic Engagement
Department of Neighborhood Empowerment
Los Angeles, CA

“Creating a Model for Inclusive Civic Engagement” 
Los Angeles Department of Neighborhood Empowerment 
Los Angeles, CA 

PROJECT CONTEXT 

Vibrant civic engagement is the cornerstone of American democracy and in the City of Los Angeles, Neighborhood Councils represent the largest grassroots system of civic engagement in the nation. Staffed by nearly 1800 volunteers citywide, 96 Neighborhood Councils work to increase citizen participation and make government more responsive to local needs. The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, also known as EmpowerLA, provides policy and operational support to Neighborhood Councils to help them advocate for their local communities. EmpowerLA believes that best way to have a strong government is to have tools that allow citizens to engage daily with their government. 

EmpowerLA is charged with improving dialogue between Neighborhood Councils and city elected officials and staff, making it the key department in ensuring that citizen voice permeates local government and effectively represents Angelenos in decision making and policy. Building on Mayor Eric Garcetti’s major priorities of including city residents and stakeholders in building a greater Los Angeles, EmpowerLA is partnering with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and the city’s Information Technology Agency to create ConnectLA - Los Angeles’ inclusive civic engagement hub. ConnectLA will be a national best practice in civic engagement by centralizing existing city civic engagement practices and building new public participation tools, both low and high tech, to create a dialogue between the city and Angelenos. 

To support its vision of creating a city where every citizen has a voice, EmpowerLA will partner with FUSE Corps to host an executive-level Fellow for one year to support the launch of ConnectLA and to develop a comprehensive strategy for increased civic engagement among city departments. These initiatives will establish a high standard of civic engagement and address internal and external barriers to make Los Angeles the best-connected city on the planet. 

PROJECT SUMMARY 

The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables that follow will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the Fellow, and FUSE staff during the first month of the project, after which a revised scope of work will be developed and agreed upon by the Fellow and the host agency.

Starting in October 2017, the fellow will begin by developing a thorough understanding of the city’s existing civic engagement practices and the efficacy of those methods across departments. The fellow will interview city staff to collect current practices and research nationwide civic engagement techniques to rate the success of such practices. 

With this background of information, the fellow will begin developing a consistent set of tools and standards to measure and manage civic engagement techniques across the city that draw on national literature and best practice. This framework will include a tool for city departments to self-assess their civic engagement efforts as well as trainings and toolkits for city staff to implement so they can reach higher levels of success. 

The fellow will also work with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and ITA to create a database of the city’s centralized civic engagement opportunities with a citizen facing online portal. The fellow will also generate a parallel set of standard policies and procedures instructing city staff how to correctly post information to the website as well as specific recommended changes in communication strategies, departmental operations, and best practice behaviors when interacting with the public before, during and after policy decisions are made. 

Success in this project will result in a clear path for the city in the coming years to improve civic engagement within city departments, clarifying for residents how they can best engage with their city departments, and become a model for other municipalities for how to create constructive and impactful dialogue between citizens and their local government representatives. Ultimately the fellow will strive to seed a shift in departmental culture that moves beyond mandated public announcements to one that embraces a rich and ongoing dialogue between government and citizens, resulting in the generation of citizen-centered policy across every department in the City of Los Angeles. 

POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES 
 
  • Conduct a thorough inventory and analysis of the city’s civic engagement methods – Develop a deep understanding of how departments and elected officials are currently communicating directly with citizens through interviews and surveys. Research national best practices for civic engagement and evaluate the success of current methods of communication and engagement. Develop an initial set of recommendations for how the city can improve civic engagement among departments and begin to disseminate ideas among select stakeholders to establish buy in. 
  • Support the establishment of the Office of Civic Engagement – Support departmental leadership in steering the strategy for this new Office, which will implement standards to foster civic engagement among departments and also oversee the ongoing operations of ConnectLA. Formulate silver, gold, and platinum levels of civic engagement standards for city elected officials and departments to strive towards. Design a series of internal trainings and department specific action plans to assist staff in progressing toward greater civic engagement. Create a recognition mechanism to award city elected officials and departments for their progress on the standards. 
  • Coordinate civic engagement tools for the city - Work with the Information Technology Agency and Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs to develop a centralized Los Angeles civic engagement website for Angelenos who are interested in how to engage with the city. Oversee the development and launch of new low and high tech tools of public engagement. 

KEY STAKEHOLDERS 
 
  • Grayce Liu, General Manager, Department of Neighborhood Empowerment  
  • Jeanne Holm, Assistant General Manager, Information Technology Agency  
  • Linda Lopez, Director, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs 

QUALIFICATIONS 
 
  • At least 15 years of professional experience in a relevant field, particularly with a strong background in operations, business analysis, data analytics, systems building and online user experience.
  • Familiarity with existing civic engagement methods and best practice literature preferred but not required. 
  • Superior critical thinking and analytical skills. Ability to synthesize complex information into clear and concise recommendations. Experience in process design and design thinking.  
  • Exceptional communication skills and emotional intelligence. Strong stakeholder management skills. Ability to effectively interact with a wide range of audiences with varying levels of technical expertise. 
  • Self-motivated, project-driven independent worker. Ability to implement and execute plans within deadlines. Persistent in obtaining information.
  • Flexibility, adaptability, persistence, humility, inclusivity and skill in engaging across cultural differences. Customer service and team orientation while remaining politically neutral.
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills with ease in public presentations.

TO APPLY 

Click the link below to upload a resume and complete the online application questions in lieu of a cover letter. The application process will allow you to indicate interest in more than one fellowship opportunity. You only need to submit one application. Interested candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, as selections will be made on a rolling basis and specific opportunities may close quickly. 

This role offers the opportunity to work full time for 12 months as an independent contractor of FUSE Corps with an annual stipend of $90,000 paid through monthly installments. 

The FUSE Fellowship is an equal opportunity program with a core value of incorporating diverse perspectives. We strongly encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply.

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APPLY: Creating a Model for Inclusive Civic Engagement


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